Even though the cello hasn’t changed much in the past few hundred years (except for electric cellos), Instrument cases have been getting very advanced with modern technology.
Case makers are building more protective, durable, and lighter cello cases. They’re also taking on the challenges of making the cases more temperature resistant. As well as scratch resistant.
Our goal here is to clarify the differences between the materials you may see in the market today. And to help you decide what works best based on your needs.
Our team is always excited to help! If you’re looking for recommendations, be sure to check out our online survey.
It takes less than a minute to fill out. And one of our team members will email you a few case recommendations based on your responses.
The Best Cello Case Should Be…
Before we get into the details of case materials, let's first talk about what a great cello case looks like.
Probably the most important factor and difference in price when it comes to cello cases - weight.
Cellos aren’t light. And cases can get pretty heavy, causing a lot of unnecessary pressure on the shoulders.
Overtime, this can lead to poor posture. To learn more about the importance of a light cello case, be sure to check out this article on The Importance Of Investing In A Light Cello Case.
So when case makers are deciding what to use to make their cases, they have to consider which materials are extremely light, but still have great protection.
This is not easy! Generally the lighter something is, the easier it breaks. So case makers have to get pretty creative, not only in the materials they use, but the way they mold and shape their cases to ensure protection and durability.
Protection is a must! If weight was the only thing cellists were concerned about, they’d be carrying their cellos in sleeping bags.
But musicians must always be prepared. Cellos are not cheap. And accidents do happen.
A protective case will ensure that the cello is safe even if the case is dropped, pushed down a flight of stairs, or thrown around by baggage handlers at the airport.
Durability is the measure of time the case will last. A good investment is a long-term investment.
A durable cello case can protect your cello for decades. And when it comes to durability, the devil is in the details.
In the past, we have seen protective and lightweight cases with cheap zippers. And it’s actually really hard to replace broken zippers on a case.
And it’s even harder to use a cello case that cannot close properly due to poor zippers.
A durable case means quality components. The hinges, zippers, locks, backpack straps, etc.
How do you know if a case is durable? By the brand! A brand is reputable for a reason.
A reputable case represents a brand that pays attention to the quality of their cases. They put musician’s needs over profit.
We highly suggest all cellists to stay away from unbranded cases.
They may be very appealing with their low prices, but they’re also cheap for a reason.
Plus you may see unbranded or unknown brands using great materials, such as fiberglass or carbon fiber.
But we don’t really know how much of that material they use. A fiberglass cello case can still be using paper thin fiberglass that can easily bend and break.
This is why it’s crucial to go with a case that’s been around for awhile with a name that musicians trust.
This has been a more recent concern among case makers. For generations, orchestral instruments have been protected by wooden cases.
Wood is great against dangerous temperatures. However, wooden cases can get pretty heavy.
So case makers started using more modern materials to protect these instruments. However, some of these materials weren’t as temperature-resistant as wood.
Take carbon fiber as an example. They’re extremely light and extremely protective. But they are made of metallic fibers. Which means if you leave them in the sun, they’ll heat up!
The best case makers and brands nowadays focus not only on how light, durable, and protective a case can be, but also how temperature-resistant it is.
Now that we’ve explored some of the most important features of a great cello case, let’s take a look at the materials that are often used to make a cello case.
Top Cello Case Materials
Wooden Cello Cases
Wooden cases are great for violins! The best violin cases are made of wood. But a violin is also a lot smaller than a cello.
Wooden cello cases are usually covered by black canvas fabrics. They’re heavy, so they usually come with wheels.
As mentioned before, they’re great against inclement weather. And they’re quite affordable too.
Wooden cello cases are great for student cellists on a budget, who’s also ok wheeling their cello case around. As in, they don’t have to wheel their case through the busy streets of New York.
Fiberglass Cello Cases
Fiberglass cello cases are probably the most popular cello cases out there. Any colorful cello case you see is most likely a fiberglass case.
And that is one of the benefits of fiberglass, it can come in several colors!
Fiberglass isn’t light. And we mean real fiberglass cello cases aren’t light. There are fiberglass cello cases under 8 lb., but they’re probably not 100% fiberglass. Thus lacking in protection.
Some of the most protective fiberglass cello cases you will find are the Bobelock fiberglass cello cases.
Carbon Fiber Cello Cases
Carbon fiber cello cases have been some of the most popular professional cello cases out there for quite awhile.
They’re extremely light. Some of the Musilia cello cases are as light as 5.5 lb. That’s lighter than most violin cases!
They’re also extremely protective and durable. Professional cyclists choose carbon fiber bicycles because of their durability and weight.
The only downside to these cases is that they’re not very temperature-resistant. Carbon fiber is a form of metal. Which means it can heat up under the sun.
This may not be an issue for cyclists going 50 miles an hour with all that wind cooling down their bikes.
But for a cellist protecting a fragile wooden instrument, temperature can be a real issue.
However, carbon fiber cello cases are still very popular. If you’re generally careful, as in you won’t leave your case in the trunk of a car in 80 degree weather, your cello will be fine!
Polycarbonate Cello Cases
Polycarbonate cello cases are “the new kids on the block”. Polycarbonate is one of the toughest plastics you’ll find. It’s used to make shatterproof glass!
It’s very protective. Very durable. And because it’s a type of plastic, it doesn’t absorb heat like metallic cases do. Making this case more temperature-resistant than many hardshell cello cases out there.
It’s also affordable for the quality of protection you get. And they’re fairly light.
The Gewa Pure cello cases are 10 lb. polycarbonate cases with wheels.
ABS Cello Cases
ABS is also a type of plastic. It’s very common among student cello cases. This type of plastic is quite affordable, making the cases themselves affordable as well.
They’re also quite temperature-resistant. However, they’re not the most protective cases. Generally fiberglass and polycarbonate cases are stronger than ABS cello cases.
Hightech Cello Cases
Hightech is not a material, but a patented mixture of materials by BAM. It consists of 3 materials: ABS, Airex foam, and another type of ABS.
The ABS shells are what gives the case it’s strength and durability. And the Airex foam is a layer between the ABS shells that provides insulation. Making the case more temperature-resistant.
The BAM Highteh cello cases come in several colors. And they can get as light as 5.7 lb.
These cases aren’t cheap though! But they’ve been a worthy investment among professional cellists around the world.
Cello Gig Bags
Cello gig bags are extremely light and affordable. A lot of them feature insulated pads as well, for increased temperature resistance.
But as you have guessed, they’re definitely not the best in terms of protection.
However, they are still very popular because they’re incredibly and easy to carry around. We find that many cellists use gig bags as a 2nd case.
Perfect for cellists who travel short distances to rehearsals on a daily basis.
Find Your Ideal Cello Case
Now it’s time to consider the type of cello case that is right for you.
We always suggest cellists to start with a budget. What budget do you have in mind?
Next comes weight. Obviously the lighter the better. But it depends on the budget you’re working with.
And also your environment. Are you ok wheeling your case around? Is the case going to be in a moving car during most of your travels?
Do you need a temperature-resistant case? Do you live in a hot and humid part of the world?
We hope you enjoyed this article! And as always, reach out to us if you have any questions. Or take our online survey to get case recommendations.